— Q: What is your take on Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg? I must be the village idiot because I really don't know what their messages are to women who are not in positions of authority (secretaries, admin assistants, etc.). Women like that, of which I am one, will not be climbing the corporate ladder any time soon.
A: You raise a really good point and certainly one that has been in the press a lot lately, with Marissa's statement about banning telecommuting at Yahoo. Those with greater pay and status can more easily pay for help at home (nannies, maids, drivers, etc.) than others. Thus it is easier for them to build nurseries next to their office (as in Mayer's case) or get help with all the "home" aspects of their lives. Other people at lower levels in organizations may need to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. They may need telecommuting options and other flexible work arrangements. It would help if those at the top periodically took the pulse of those at the other levels to see what are their real concerns and issues.
Q: How do you think Ms. Sandberg or Ms. Mayer got where they are? They just magically got a position of authority? That's a little disingenuous . . . (And well, when you're CEO, you get the perks that come with it. You also work about 24 hours a day. It's not a piece of cake).
A: You are absolutely right — getting to the top of an organization takes an enormous amount of work, and they certainly deserve any perks that come with that. They do have to be "on" 24/7, so they are putting in lots of hours with lots of stress. The other point is that we need to make sure that once you get to the top, you still remember all those people in the trenches who might have different issues and struggles.